As the count clocked down to midnight in Seattle, Washington on Wednesday night, pot smokers lined the streets around the Space Needle in celebration of a new law that allows them to smoke small amounts of marijuana in public.
Washington State and Colorado both recently legalized marijuana, although some hurdles still exist for the legal procurement of that marijuana.
In Washington State, marijuana can only be purchased from marijuana stores, and licenses for those stores are not expected to arrive until December 2013.
While it may be legal to smoke pot, it is still a federal crime to grow or sell marijuana.
Initiative 502 led Washington State Liquor Control Board spokesman Brian Smith to proclaim:
“It begs the question, if they can’t buy it through a medical marijuana shop, which only people with a prescription and medical marijuana license can, how do they get it?”
Yet prosecutors have no intention to go after pot smokers who must still illegally procure marijuana, instead focusing their efforts on growers and sellers.
Lawmakers recommendations? Pot smokers should just hope it “falls out of the sky.”
While marijuana sales are still technically illegal because of federal trafficking laws, the governors of Washington and Colorado have petitioned US Attorney General Eric Holder to better explain Justice Department views on pot sales.
The biggest concern at this time is that a significant amount of resources will be spent at the state level only to have efforts squashed by federal agents.
According to a recent statement by the US attorney’s office:
“Regardless of any changes in state law, including the change that will go into effect on December 6 in Washington state, growing, selling or possessing any amount of marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Members of the public are also advised to remember that it remains against federal law to bring any amount of marijuana onto federal property, including all federal buildings, national parks and forests, military installations and courthouses.”
So go ahead and toke up in Washington, but only if pot starts falling out of the sky.